Pax West 2023 – Alien Hominid Invasion
At Pax West 2023, we had the chance to see the soon-to-be released Alien Hominid Invasion. Alien Hominid Invasion is not quite a sequel nor is it a remaster of the original Alien Hominid HD from back in 2004. It is more of a revisit or reimagining of the title, bringing forth a slew of gameplay changes and plenty of new features. At a glance, there is one thing in particular that differentiates this title from its predecessor. It is much more inviting and approachable.
Having grown up with side-scrollers shooters such Contra and Metal Slug, I am very well familiar with the unforgiving nature of those one-hit death, bullet hell games. It’s what added the tension, excitement and fun. Alien Hominid HD was no different in that regard, featuring hectic and explosive mayhem while entertaining you with its cartoonish violence. It was both punishing and rewarding once you were able to keep up with its gameplay.
Alien Hominid Invasion looks to widen its audience even further, inviting players across more varying skill levels. It is a 4-player game where each player can pick their own difficulty. Regardless of what difficulty each player picks, they are still able to enjoy the game with the intensity that they want as they play with their friends. The most notable introduction in Alien Hominid Invasion is the inclusion of a health bar. Players can now take multiple hits before they expend a life. The difficulty each player chooses determines how many lives they have as well as how far they can progress their characters.
Alien actions from the original also see so changes, increasing the player’s overall mobility from the previous game. The dig action where your alien can go underground now allows the alien to temporarily move around underground. This is a change from the previous game, where dig just lets you hide in one place, allowing you to snag enemies as they walk by. The dodge action before was used to shrink your character’s hit box as you quickly move to avoid attacks. Now, the dodge action gives you invincibility frames, allowing you to completely pass through enemy attacks whenever you perform them. You can also perform dodges in mid air, pushing your mobility even further.
That is not to say that the game is all of a sudden easier. As you perform objectives in each stage, the longer you take, the more difficult enemies become. New stronger enemies and upgraded enemy types start to spawn, armed with both more-punishing attacks as well as more health and armor. You may think you can i-frame dodge forever, but you may eventually end up being swarmed by some of the meatiest enemies the stage can produce.
Players both new and old also get to learn more about the aliens and the agents through a more revealing story. The gameplay is broken up into chapters where players can choose how they progress through city blocks as they make their way towards the agent headquarters of each chapter.
As players play throughout the stages, they will earn equipment and weapons that give their aliens unique traits and looks. In a BattleBlock Theater-like fashion, players will also be able to change their aliens’ pigments, further adding to the variety of customization that will now be available from the new title.
From what we got to experience at The Behemoth’s booth at Pax West 2023, we can say that Alien Hominid Invasion is still very action-packed. While the game is definitely more inviting with its new mechanics, the way each stage progressively increases in difficultly seems to give even the more advanced player the challenge they crave.
In terms of bridging together players of varying skill gaps, I particularly like how the mounting mechanic played out in this early build. When you hop on the back of either an enemy or an ally, you take no damage as the rider. That alone gives the more hardcore players the opportunity to carry others throughout the more-difficult parts of the game – both literally and figuratively. And if the loot and customization is close to or better than it was in BattleBlock Theater, this game looks to have a lot of replay value.
The Behemoth’s release of Alien Hominid Invasion is right around the corner, scheduled to come out in 2023. It will be available for Xbox, Steam and the Nintendo Switch. If you want to check out more about the game, you can check it out by clicking here.